Easy Roman Braised Artichoke Hearts (Carciofi alla Romana) Recipe (2024)

Why It Works

  • Combining oregano and mint approximates the flavor and aroma of nepitella, an herb Romans use for this dish, better than mint alone.
  • Gently cooking the artichoke hearts in olive oil with white wine both steams and poaches them until they're supremely tender and flavorful.

There are many reasons not to cook artichokes out of season, the least obvious of which is that they can spontaneously combust. I'm not joking. I was trimming some leathery artichokes a few months ago, in the middle of summer, and they began to catch fire from the friction of the blade as I sliced through the dry, woody leaves. You can see proof of it onthis Twitter thread.

Artichokes that suddenly ignite might be a sign that I shouldn't be publishing a recipe for them in October, but thanks to California's climate, you can usually get fresh artichokes this time of year, even though spring is when they're most abundant. Given this brief window of opportunity, I couldn't resist sharing the classic recipe forcarciofi alla romana(Roman braised artichokes).

Artichokes play an important role in Italian cooking. The country grows about 10 times as many tons of the crop as the US does, and artichokes find their way to the table in many forms: raw, fried, braised, or roasted. And, while you can find artichoke recipes all over Italy, Rome is home to two of the most famous:carciofi alla giudia(Jewish-style fried artichokes) and the carciofi alla romana I'm focusing on here.

The most challenging thing about making carciofi alla romana is cleaning the artichokes, which I've gone over indetail (including video!) in another article.

Easy Roman Braised Artichoke Hearts (Carciofi alla Romana) Recipe (1)

In Rome, they often use a special variety of globe artichoke that's free of spines and the inedible, hairy choke, but it can be hard to find that kind here. Our artichokes work, too, but we have to trim away all the spiky and tough woody parts, along with the choke. The Roman artichokes often have much larger stems attached, rising like gently bowed spires, which allows for a more dramatic presentation of the dish. I tried to keep my stems attached for these photos, too, but they were much shorter, thinner, and more prone to accidentally breaking off during trimming. It's fine if that happens; you can just cook the broken-off stems alongside the cleaned artichoke hearts.

The ingredients for carciofi alla romana are few. You need olive oil, white wine, garlic, and herbs. The herbs present a small challenge. In Rome, they use an herb that's sometimes calledmentucciaand sometimes callednepitella, a type ofcalamint. It's not easy to find.

Easy Roman Braised Artichoke Hearts (Carciofi alla Romana) Recipe (2)

Most recipes just shrug it off by calling for fresh mint instead, but nepitella doesn't quite taste like mint. It has a woodsier, oregano-like quality that mint alone fails to deliver. The best solution, I think, is to combine fresh oregano and mint to better approximate the flavor and aroma of nepitella. Parsley is often included along with the nepitella, helping to buffer the latter herb's intensity, so I mix some parsley into the herbs in my recipe as well.

After that, I rub the concave side of the artichoke hearts with the minced herbs and garlic, trying to pack some of it into the leafy crevices, then set them upside down in a pot or Dutch oven that's just large enough to accommodate them all side by side. I add olive oil and white wine, bring the pot to a simmer, and cover. The artichokes gently cook in the pot, partly steaming in the wine's vapors, partly poaching in the olive oil, until they're supremely tender.

To serve, just transfer them to a platter and drizzle the cooking juices all over, plus maybe an extra drizzle of fresh olive oil just to punch up the flavor a little. They get even better as they cool down to room temp, so no rush eating them right away. I guarantee you, though: They will not catch fire when you finally do slide your fork through them.

Easy Roman Braised Artichoke Hearts (Carciofi alla Romana) Recipe (3)

October 2017

Recipe Details

Easy Carciofi alla Romana (Roman Braised Artichoke Hearts)

Prep15 mins

Cook20 mins

Active30 mins

Total35 mins


  • 2 whole lemons (for maintaining artichokes' color)

  • 4 large or 12 small artichokes (2 pounds; 1kg)

  • 1/4 cup (7g) minced flat-leaf parsley leaves

  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh mint leaves

  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano leaves

  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/4 cup (60ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

  • 1/4 cup (60ml) dry white wine

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Fill a large bowl with water; halve and squeeze 2 lemons into it. Trim artichokes by cleaning them down to the hearts, following the guidelines shown here: Using a serrated knife, cut off top of artichoke and bottommost part of stem. Using a paring knife or sharp vegetable peeler, trim away the tough outer leaves to expose the tender inner leaves and heart. Trim away fibrous outer layer around stem to expose tender inner core (if stem breaks off, that's okay; just save it and cook it alongside the hearts). Using a spoon, scrape out the inedible, hairy choke in the center of each heart. Transfer cleaned artichokes to bowl of lemon water as you work, covering them with a clean kitchen towel to keep them completely submerged.

  2. In a small bowl, stir together parsley, mint, oregano, and garlic. Rub concave side of each artichoke heart with herb mixture, packing it into any leafy crevices. Set aside remaining herb mixture.

    Easy Roman Braised Artichoke Hearts (Carciofi alla Romana) Recipe (4)

  3. Add olive oil and wine to a pot just large enough to hold all the artichokes closely side by side, so that they can sit flat with their stem sides up. Arrange artichokes in pot and season with salt and pepper.

    Easy Roman Braised Artichoke Hearts (Carciofi alla Romana) Recipe (5)

  4. Bring pot to a simmer over medium-high heat, then lower heat to a bare simmer, cover, and cook until artichokes are fork-tender, 20 to 30 minutes. (Smaller artichokes may not take as long.)

  5. Remove from heat and transfer artichokes to a platter, stem sides up. Drizzle with cooking juices, along with some fresh olive oil and a light sprinkling of reserved herb mixture. Serve warm or at room temperature.

    Easy Roman Braised Artichoke Hearts (Carciofi alla Romana) Recipe (6)

Special Equipment

Vegetable peeler or paring knife

Read More

  • How to Clean, Trim, and Prepare Artichokes
  • Classic Artichokes à la Barigoule (French Brasied Artichokes With White Wine)
Easy Roman Braised Artichoke Hearts (Carciofi alla Romana) Recipe (2024)


How do you eat artichoke alla Romana? ›

While other countries usually eat the leaves and discard the stalk, in Rome we usually trim the hard, outer leaves along with the base and exterior part of the stem before preparing and cooking the artichokes whole, making the result fully edible (many Romans believe the stem, or gambo, to be the best, most flavorsome, ...

What is the difference between Roman artichokes and regular artichokes? ›

Rome's artichokes are world-famous and very popular in the Roman cuisine. Unlike other artichokes, they are round and soft, and more importantly they have no spines.

Do I need to rinse canned artichoke hearts? ›

Before you add them to any recipe, make sure to rinse off the salt and drain them well.

How do you eat carciofi alla giudia? ›

Carciofi alla giudia are eaten whole. First you pick off and eat the outer leaves, which are like potato chips, and then you move on to the center, which has a rich, buttery consistency and flavor.

How do you eat carciofi? ›

To enjoy, start pulling off the outer leaves first and work your way in. The leaves can actually be enjoyed whole, and they'll taste like crunchy chips with soft meat at the bottom. Once the leaves are finished, the tender hearts are left for you to savor, cherish, and enjoy!

Why are artichoke hearts so expensive? ›

Artichoke heads are still harvested by hand and, since this depends on their ripening, this may span several weeks. This leads to particularly high production costs, making artichokes among the most expensive vegetables on the market (at equivalent edible quantities).

What part of artichoke is not edible? ›

When you get to the heart of the artichoke, you will notice the fuzzy hair layer referred to as the "choke". This part of the artichoke is not edible. Remove the choke by using a spoon to scoop it out. 5.

Are Roman artichokes good for you? ›

The artichoke has good nutritional qualities which make it an important element of the characteristic Mediterranean diet: in fact, it gives energy and has a detoxifying and diuretic effect, particularly indicated for people who suffer from asthenia and over-exhaustion, kidney and liver problems or lack of iron in the ...

What to do with a jar of marinated artichoke hearts? ›

Just drizzle drained marinated artichoke hearts with a few tablespoons of olive oil, pour them onto a sheet pan, and slide them into a hot oven—450°F—for about 18 minutes, tossing once halfway through, until they're nicely browned around the edges.

Can you overcook artichoke hearts? ›

Preparing artichokes is quite easy though I have found that many home cooks, even accomplished ones, often overcook them, so that both the delicious tips of the leaves and the hearts are mushy. They shouldn't be. There should be a bit of resistance when you take a bite - not a lot, but some.

Are artichoke hearts better in oil or water? ›

Whole globe artichokes can be purchased fresh, and artichoke hearts are available frozen, canned in water, or jarred in olive oil and spices. The oil-packed ones are a little higher in healthy fat, but draining the oil will help save some calories.

What pairs well with artichokes? ›

The purple flowering artichoke has a floral, citrusy aroma that pairs well with other citrus-scented ingredients such as lemons, limes, bergamots and grapefruit. Fresh herbs like basil, cilantro and even chile peppers complement the artichoke's floral notes, as do meats like duck, bacon and fried gamba (shrimp).

How to season artichokes? ›

What to do: Fill a pot large with enough water to cover the artichokes; season the water with salt. To infuse the artichokes with flavor, you can add aromatics like peppercorns, fresh or dried herbs (think: thyme, rosemary, parsley or bay leaves) or slices of lemon.

Can you just eat canned artichoke hearts? ›

Canned artichokes do not necessarily need to be cooked as they are already pre-cooked during the canning process. They can be consumed straight from the can. Some people prefer to heat them before consuming for various reasons, such as enhancing the flavor or achieving a warmer temperature.

How are you supposed to eat grilled artichoke? ›

Artichokes may be served hot or cold. To eat, pull off outer petals one at a time. Dip base of petal into sauce or melted butter; pull through teeth to remove soft, pulpy portion of petal. Discard remaining petal.

Are marinated artichokes ready to eat? ›

Delicately marinated ready-to-eat Artichokes deliciously dress up antipastos, salads, sandwiches, pasta or pizza. ARTICHOKE HEARTS, WATER, SALT, CANE VINEGAR, OLIVE OIL, SUNFLOWER OIL, SPICES.

Do you eat the whole grilled artichoke? ›

Can you eat the entire grilled artichoke? While you can eat most of the grilled artichoke, including the tender flesh of the leaves and the heart, the fuzzy choke in the center should be removed before eating. The outer leaves and the stem are also edible.

How do Italians eat artichokes? ›

The Artichoke in Italian Cuisine

They are eaten raw in salads or alone, dipped in condimento, a simple bowl of good quality olive oil, salt, and fresh cracked black pepper. They're also found whole and stuffed in dishes like Carciofi alla Romana _or deep-fried in dishes like _Carciofi alla Giudia.

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